A team that is in the midst of a rebuild, as the Texas Rangers are, typically is short on proven veteran starters but high on hopes and patience.
As of Tuesday, at least officially, that’s not the case with the Texas Rangers. Right-hander Lance Lynn is one of four starters who have MLB track records that suggest they will give the Rangers a chance.
“Those four guys at the top are pretty significant,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It gives us a chance every game. These guys have proven track records and that’s exciting for our young group, especially for our position players that go out there every day.”
Lynn joins righty Edinson Volquez and left-handers Mike Minor and Drew Smyly. That’s a foursome of veterans who have done something in the majors and who give the best young arms in the minors a chance to develop more rather than be rushed to the Rangers.
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The addition of Lynn, though, might also give the Rangers an opportunity to trade from their pool of starters, specifically Minor.
“We’re going to look at everything as it comes up,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
The Philadelphia Phillies are one of “multiple” clubs interested in Minor, according to a source who declined to name the other teams. No matter who they are, parting with Minor would be easier to do than if Lynn hadn’t signed a three-year, $30 million contract.
Daniels said that the Rangers will continue to add starters, thought they are unlikely to pursue Dallas Keuchel. They do have some interest in another lefty, Japanese star Yusei Kikuchi, and he could be in their price range.
“There are still other starters we’re looking at,” Daniels said. “We can still make some other moves.”
Lynn would become the front-runner to be the Opening Day starter March 28 against the Chicago Cubs. He’s looking forward to having a full spring training to prepare after spending last off-season in free-agent purgatory and not signing with the Minnesota Twins until two weeks before camp broke.
But a chance to sign early isn’t the only reason Lynn picked the Rangers.
“There are quite a few things,” said Lynn, who agreed to the deal last week at the winter meetings. “You look at the area the ballpark, the cities, Dallas-Fort Worth is a beautiful place, you look at the team, a lot of up-and-coming young players and guys who have already done a lot in this game. Come in and be a part of that, there is a lot going on here that’s a positive. I just want to come in and help push us in the right direction.”
If Minor isn’t dealt after a successful return to starting in 2018, the Rangers believe they have enough offense to back a group of starters that knows how to keep its team in a game.
Having four veteran starters as opposed to two and, say, three rookies provides a jolt of confidence.
“It’s a tremendous boost to our group,” Woodward said. “Obviously, they want to go out and win games, and this move kind of solidifies that at the top of the rotation. We’ve got some pretty good arms at the top, and from an offensive standpoint we just look at it as these guys are going to get outs for us and we’re going to go score some runs.”